De­fen­sive play drives Ma­raud­ers

Antelope Valley Press (Sunday) - - Sports - From C1

LANCASTER — Most plays reg­is­ter on film. A few reg­is­ter on seis­mo­graphs.

Even fewer still, you can feel, as much as hear or see.

The lat­ter was how An­te­lope Val­ley Col­lege started its 21- 0 dom­i­na­tion of Cit­rus Satur­day.

Owls quar­ter­back Austin Zavala swung a pass into the flat for Kas­mir Dina.

It was a bub­ble screen on which an­other re­ceiver was sup­posed to block and cre­ate an es­cape lane.

Ma­raud­ers safety Jaylin Cochran not only burst the bub­ble, he blew up Dina in a hit that re­ver­ber­ated about Brent Carder Ma­rauder Sta­dium.

“We wanted to let them know,” Cochran said, “that the Ma­rauder de­fense came to play to­day.”

After a 21-0 shutout of once-un­beaten Cit­rus, the Ma­roon and Gray have al­lowed one touch­down in their last six quar­ters.

Over­com­ing early sea­son ups and downs, AVC (3-1, 6-3) has now won three straight.

They’ve positioned them­selves to earn a bowl berth with a win at Vic­tor Val­ley next Satur­day.

AVC coach Perry

Jehlicka says some­thing clicked at half­time of a nar­row loss to San Bernardino Val­ley.

In the 14 quar­ters since, the Ma­raud­ers have outscored their op­po­nents 116-40, and, es­sen­tially, com­piled a record of 3.5-. 5.

“We do feel like a dif­fer­ent team now than in the first half of that San Bernardino game,” said safety Ki­jante Fig­ures, who had the unique par­lay of a sack and a pick-six Satur­day. “Every­one is play­ing his as­sign­ment on ev­ery de­fense that Coach (Ed) Ea­ton (the AVC de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor) calls.

“The de­fense works ex­actly the way it’s sup­posed to. No one is out of po­si­tion and we’re all help­ing each other be­come bet­ter foot­ball play­ers.”

Fig­ures is a fresh­man from Charleston, West Va., one of Jehlicka’s stops along the way to Lancaster.

Cochran has come to the west coast of the USA from the west coast of Florida, in Fort My­ers, the an­ces­tral home­land of Deion San­ders.

“When they were re­cruit­ing me here, Cochran said, “I heard sto­ries of how much tal­ent there was here. But they just couldn’t put things to­gether as a team.

“But that’s ex­actly what we’ve been do­ing in these last four games. We’re not play­ing as in­di­vid­u­als, we’re play­ing as a team. I think it makes us all bet­ter play­ers in­di­vid­u­ally as well.”

When those lit­tle-things- ad­ding- up- tolosses con­tin­ued early in the sea­son, Jehlicka said he wasn’t wor­ried.

His team had to much char­ac­ter.

“Ev­ery­body bought into Coach’s ‘What’s Next?’ theme,” Fig­ures said. “Whether you just made a good play or a bad play didn’t mat­ter as much as the next play. We’ve be­come a lot more con­sis­tent team.”

What’s next is Vic­tor Val­ley.

It’s the last reg­u­lar sea­son Amer­i­can Moun­tain Di­vi­sion game.

But it’s not the last What’s Next.

JOHN SAN­DERS Val­ley Press Sports Correspond­ent

TOUGH YARDS AVC run­ning back Jaylen O’Neil car­ries the ball against the Cit­rus de­fense on Satur­day at Ma­rauder Sta­dium.

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